Winchester CTC – Notes for Leaders and Backmarkers
We appreciate the fact that you have volunteered to give some of your time to help the club. The aim of these notes is to help you plan your ride and lead it on the day. Leaders are an essential part of our rides and make an important contribution to the success of the club. Leading a ride can be an enjoyable activity and members of the committee and other leaders will be happy to help. Just ask.
In order to lead rides for us, the Winchester CTC Secretary registers you as a volunteer leader with Cycling UK nationally. The only other formality is that you have to be a current member of Cycling UK. This registration gives you adequate insurance cover when leading a ride for Winchester CTC. A summary of the insurance arrangements is included at the end of notes, including a link to the full documentation on the Cycling UK national website.
All those attending Winchester CTC rides are asked to follow the published Summary Rider Guidance and Rider Guidance. You can, therefore, expect riders in your group to have read the guidance. If the behaviour of certain riders contravenes these documents, please remind them of the documents and the need to read them. Poor behaviour by riders may result in them being asked to leave the group
In addition to cooperation from fellow riders, the leader on the day can also expect support from other volunteer leaders. Many leaders are very experienced and more than happy to share their knowledge with you both before and during the ride.
Each group of riders is different and some elements of the guidance is more relevant to rides with a higher number of novice cyclists whilst other elements are more appropriate for leading faster, more experienced groups.
At the end of these notes is a Checklist with a summary of what you need to do when leading a ride. It is designed as an aide-mémoire and is an addition to these notes rather than a replacement. It follows the same order as the full guidance and is divided into 3 sections.
- Before ride
- On the day
- After the ride
We run Ride Leader Workshops (3 hours) at regular intervals. Existing leaders are more than happy to offer support both before and during a ride and also act as mentor if required.
We maintain a Leaders’ Google Group list, which is used for swaps and general issues relating to leading rides. Please check with the Secretary that your name has been added.
Before the ride
Route: Devise a route that is suitable in distance and difficulty for the group you are leading. Wherever possible, choose minor roads and avoid complicated junctions, although it may be necessary to use short sections of main roads. The “Our Rides” section on our website gives approximate distances and speed ranges for each type of ride.
How you work out the route is up to you: Many leaders rely on maps (OS Landranger 1:50 000) but increasingly leaders are also using mapping software to devise routes. We are also developing a Route Library on the website and this may help you. Other leaders will also be happy to help you work out a route.
It is not essential to ride the route in advance although obviously, this can be useful if you have time. Identify points of interest, refreshment stops and toilets. Some leaders publish details on our Facebook page or our Winchester CTC Google Group. If you do this, post the information sufficiently in advance to give riders the chance to see it. If you are unsure of anything, don’t hesitate to ask another leader or ride coordinator. It can be helpful to have an extra paper copy of the route available on the day for backmarkers or deputies.
Refreshment stops: these are an integral part of Winchester CTC rides. With groups getting larger, we ask leaders to check that the chosen refreshment stops are open, can accommodate the likely numbers and that food will be available. In conjunction with our sister group Southampton CTC, we produce a Café List. There is a link from the home page of our website – just below the Twitter feed. It contains most of the information that you will need.
It is often difficult to estimate how many riders will turn up on the day. You should be able to give an estimate and if on the day it is significantly different, please ring from the start. Make sure you have the telephone number with you or have access to the Café List. If you are leading a Sunday ride, don’t forget that the two groups – moderate and faster – often use the same coffee venue. Please liaise with the other leader.
In some cases, particularly in winter when there is ice or snow, it may be necessary to modify the route or occasionally cancel the ride. It is up to you to decide whether to cancel the ride. Often the roads are only icy at the start of the ride and the Hampshire Gritted Road map athttp://maps.hants.gov.uk/saltroutesmap/ can be helpful. The roads shown in red are usually gritted and so can often be used at the start of rides. If conditions improve, you can revert to more minor roads or if they don’t, you may wish to return to Winchester immediately. If you decide to cancel the ride, please put a note on either the Winchester CTC Google Group or on our Facebook page. Please go to the start venue if at all possible or if you live outside Winchester, ask a Winchester-based leader to do this for you, just in case riders don’t see the announcement.
On the day
At the start:
Make sure that riders and/or bikes do not cause an obstruction at the meet point.
Appoint a backmarker, if possible a registered leader. Exchange mobile phone numbers. Make sure they know the route, including the location of refreshment stops and ideally give them a map. If the group is larger than about 15 riders, we recommend splitting the ride into smaller groups. Ask someone to lead and back-mark each sub-group, where possible a registered leader.
We welcome children on our led rides. All children under 18 must have a signed parental consent form (available from the Secretary).
The minimum age for unaccompanied children on rides is 13. There is no lower age limit if accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis but a signed parental consent form is still needed.
Children aged 13 – 17 may ride unaccompanied on provision of a signed parental consent form subject to the requirement that on their first two rides they must be accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis. During these two rides the adult remains responsible for the child during the ride and should remain with the child and in particular should not ride on ahead. This two-ride rule allows us to check that a child is capable of riding in a group.
We occasionally agree to look after a child whose parent or guardian is known to us and we know the capabilities of the child. In this case, an individual rider agrees to act as the responsible adult. This is very much the exception to the rule and is always agreed in advance. This rule does not apply to open events where the parents fill in a consent form when the child enters the event.
Introduce yourself and the backmarker to riders and explain briefly where the ride is going. If there are newcomers, welcome them to the group. Non-members are allowed to ride with us for 3 rides before joining. This gives them a chance to find out whether we are right for them. Try to ascertain the group-cycling experience of newcomers and introduce them to a few members who can “help” them on the ride.
On Sunday and Wednesday rides, we have 2 and in some cases 3 groups (medium, medium + and faster) starting from the same venue. Liaise with the other leader so that you know who is in your group. When you are about to leave with your group, say clearly which group is about to move.
On the road:
Where possible, lead from the near the front of the group. The Rider Guidance is designed to maximise the safety of groups. Please make sure that riders follow the rider guidance and have a word with any who do not ride with consideration for the group.
The Rider Guidance contains information on safe riding and the use of hand signals and verbal instructions. Ensure that you are familiar with the various signals and give a loud verbal warning in advance of your intentions when approaching major roads, roundabouts, fords etc. Use your judgement to assess the speed of approaching traffic. Riders take individual responsibility at junctions but you may give guidance such as “clear”, or “stop, car from left”, etc. If often helps to establish eye contact with driver(s) waiting at, or approaching the junction from a minor side road, to encourage them to give way. If the group has to split at a junction, wait somewhere safe to reassemble.
The Rider Guidance contains particular information on how to approach horses. Make sure that riders follow this guidance.
The Rider Guidance contains information on singling up when road and/or traffic conditions dictate, and where safe to do so. This instruction may come from the leader or it may come from someone else in the group who is aware of what is happening behind the group.
If you are unsure of the route, stop well before the next junction at a safe point to consult the map.
If you need to stop the group, ensure that you stop in a safe place, avoiding road junctions, bends and other road hazards. Warn riders before stopping and keep the carriageway clear.
The same applies when a rider has a puncture or mechanical problem. Ask the group to wait in a safe place. If the mechanical problem can be dealt with quickly, you may decide to keep the group together and then continue. In some cases, it may make sense to split the group and several riders should wait and help the rider sort out the problem. Exchange mobile phone numbers if possible and ensure that they know the route. Ideally, assign a fellow leader to stay with the group. The leader is not responsible for roadside repairs, although the more you can help, the better it is. All riders are advised to carry at least spare tubes, tyre levers and pump. Allen keys and multi-tools are also useful. Nowadays, the mobile phone is often a valuable tool if the problem is more serious and cannot be resolved at the roadside.
When the route deviates from “ahead” at a junction, ask a rider to wait for any slower riders and link up with the backmarker if necessary. This keeps the group moving. If the ride has spread out for any reason, slow the ride down. From time to time, you may need to stop to draw the group back together. Sometimes riders turn up who cannot manage the advertised pace of the group. If this is obvious from the outset, you or the backmarker may need to have a word with them and suggest that they return to Winchester whilst still on familiar roads. In this case, encourage them to try one of our slower rides. If the rider is only slightly slower and there is a short cut that can be taken, this can be suggested to them and in this case, the rider(s) should be accompanied by another leader. We do not leave riders behind but working with other leaders, this situation can usually be handled. If the ride is advertised as suitable for novices, it is very unlikely that this situation will apply.
Group riding is generally a safe activity but accidents do happen, either because of something within the group or an external factor.
In the event of an accident, make sure that the scene is safe and that other traffic is aware that something has happened. Call an ambulance if necessary. Avoid moving the rider. If another vehicle is involved and an injury has occurred, call the police. You may decide to split the group at this stage and either nominate a leader to take the group going on or ask some experienced riders to remain with the injured rider. Exchange mobile phone numbers.
After the accident, contact the Winchester CTC secretary for an Incident Report form. After completion, the secretary will send it to the CYCLING UK insurer and CYCLING UK officer responsible for member groups. This is done after every accident on a CTC/CYCLING UK ride, where a rider attends A+E at the time or later and even if no other person is involved.
Towards the end of the ride, make sure that everyone in the group knows where the ride ends. Usually, riders will go their own way on reaching the city boundary, but check everyone knows how to get home from where they are.
Registered leaders are covered by Organisers’ Liability and all CTC/Cycling UK members are covered by 3rd party insurance.
Organisers’ Liability cover: Cover is provided to all volunteer registered leaders of Winchester CTC (maximum of £10,000,000 per incident) provided that they are current members of CTC/Cycling UK. As a leader or event organiser, you are covered against any claim made against you or the Member Group for injury or damage caused to a third party during a led ride or as part of an open event organised by Winchester CTC/Cycling UK.
Non-members are covered for the duration of the ride only against claims made against them by a CTC/CYCLING UK member on the ride. There should be no more than 10 non-members on any one ride and a non-member may only participate in 3 Winchester CTC rides before they are required to become members. This limitation does not apply to open events registered with CTC/Cycling UK. The full guidance is available at
Third-party insurance: Cover of a maximum of £10,000,000 per incident is available to all current individual members of CTC/Cycling UK for injury or damage caused by that member to a third party. Members are covered while cycling in touring competitions, reliability or Audax events, time-trials and record breaking. You are not insured for any other form of competitive cycling. The full guidance is at